Сlean UI Guide: 9 Contrast Tips & Examples

Differences are the most effective way to attract attention and be remembered by the user. Through contrast, designers can highlight essential elements and information, create a stylish layout, and engage the user with unusual details.

The design layout of any project assumes the presence of a specific set of elements that make up the interface. All these elements, based on the tasks of the interface and users' needs, should be located in the layout where they will be of greater or lesser importance. And for the correct management of user attention, you need to know and be able to apply the basic principles and rules of contrast. Let’s talk about contrast tips.


Critical Principles for Using Contrasts

You must adhere to three main principles when creating a project design layout:


  • Make elements markedly different because users may only notice them if the contrast is high

Designed by Daria Kravets

  • Make sure your design is straightforward with only a few effects because they keep your audience from focusing on what matters most


Designed by Cuberto

  • Determine the primary and secondary information and highlight the one that should catch your eye in the first place


Designed by Phenomenon Product

Types of Contrast in UI Design

Typically, the contrast in design is based on the different functions of layout elements such as:


  • size;
  • color;
  • location;
  • direction;
  • form;
  • texture.


9 Contrast Tips and Examples

Let's learn tips on how to use contrast in UI design to grab the users' attention.


Size and points in the composition

Larger objects on the layout are perceived by users better. They contrast and attract more attention than small ones. An example of using size contrast is different fonts. More important information is highlighted in a larger font.

For example - the title should be in a larger font. It is more visible and readable than the rest of the text. Here you can see another example of size contrast. The target action is implemented with a more prominent “yes” button. This increases the desire to click on it. It is more correct to make failure options less contrasting, including due to the smaller size.

Designed by Margaret Lunina

Color and background contrast

Color contrast is the difference between the brightness of colors. Striking contrast shows how light or dark a color is. A contrasting color in the design is used to highlight the main action in the composition.

Designed by Filip Legierski

Creative elements

Another unusual contrast is the difference between creative and interesting UI elements and familiar layout details. These can be unusual illustrations, interesting shapes, pop-ups, animations, and more.

Such elements stand out among the details familiar to the user - buttons, web forms, and other blocks common to the site. Thus, the designer draws attention to the necessary information, a banner with a promotion, and a call to action, and can encourage the site visitor to take targeted action.

Designed by Cuberto

Movement principal

Moving objects attract more attention from users and never go unnoticed. It is effective to use animation to control the user's attention.

An example of such a composition is the "jumping" callback tube, which you probably met on commercial sites. It encourages users to click on it.

Designed by Cuberto


With the help of different textures and patterns, you can also create contrast between the blocks of your design, drawing the user's attention to specific details. Also, textures are often used as a background for objects that can be used as a contrast. For example, a light element on a dark texture is not only a contrast with color but also a contrast of “materials”.

Designed by Cuberto


Another approach based on contrast is UI composition features. Elements can be arranged in such a way as to attract the attention of users due to the spacing between them. This approach is characterized by the presence of white space on the site.


Designers use a lot of white space and thus draw attention to objects: product image, title, menu, and call to action.

Also, another way to draw the user's attention to an object is to make it an "anchor" element. These are elements that are located in such a way that from the first seconds of viewing the layout, they “hook” the user’s eye. The role of such objects is both graphics (images, graphs, etc.), as well as headings, geometric shapes, calls to action, and so on.

Designed by Hrvoje Grubisic


The shape of an element is another way to make it stand out on the layout and draw the user's attention. This technique can be illustrated with simple geometric figures. If we put four figures of the same size and color in a row, but one of them is different in shape, then this immediately catches the eye.


In design, everything works on the same principle. Often the elements are shaped into geometric shapes or simply placed in blocks of various shapes. At the same time, it is important to maintain a balance in the composition and not highlight elements if this is not required. You also need to monitor the harmony and coincidence of the form with the style of the project. Of course, unusual combinations are also possible, but in this case, the composition and style should be in harmony with each other.


You can also create contrast with typography. This is clearly seen in articles and other types of text content. When creating a design, not only different spellings are used, but also fonts. For example, if you need to draw the user's attention to specific information, you can highlight it in a font that is different from the main content or increase the size of the inscription. It is important to follow the basic principles of typography:


  • use no more than 2-3 fonts on the layout
  • do not use fonts that do not match the style of the site (for example, handwritten fonts for modern trends such as "flat design")
  • observe line spacing, separate text into paragraphs, and so on

Designed by Hrvoje Grubisic


The color of a button is only one aspect, there is also the color and volume of its label or its border (if one exists). All this, like composition, is able to inform people of its current state. When the contrast is clear, it is also clear whether a given element is interactive, active, or disabled, and what type of action it denotes: primary or secondary.

If you don't want color combinations to be uncomfortable, avoid using two colors that are too bright or too similar. Think about the shades and shades you are using. Don't pair two very bright colors together as this will be visually challenging for viewers.

Designed by Alex Tkachev


In general, contrast is the main tool for capturing the user's attention. The use of various combinations (for example, interesting shapes of elements + bright color shades) allows designers to create an interesting and memorable resource that will sell products well. Depending on the direction and use of corporate identity in design, developers can change the mood of users and create a special atmosphere on the site using contrasts in colors, shapes, composition, and other techniques.

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